14 Nov A 1959 Gibson Les Paul Conversion & a David Allen P51
Another long time project that I have was to “fix” an old original, 1952 style Gibson Les Paul – originally started as a Gold Top in the early 1950s – that I had bought in Florida probably 20 years ago.
It was my first 1950s Les Paul conversion, and the conversion itself had been done horribly. Never the less, I played the guitar for years live and at home. It was my main Les Paul for a long time, until the Lentz conversion came about years later. I don’t have a picture of what the guitar looked like when I first got it. The guitar was refinished a number of times, eventually staying in gold with P90s (replicas) as its last condition before I decided to have it properly converted in 1959 style again – but this time, done as it should have been.
It took almost two years to friend Luca of Cloe Guitars, but the guitar is now successfully converted. Luca did a number of incredible things to it. The first one – wasn’t easy for me – was to replace the neck. The neck was probably not its original one from the start – it had been reset for sure, but it had a very strange shape, definitely too thin, probably a 1970s neck anyways. Not only it didn’t have the proper angle in the 1950s Les Paul body, but it was shaped too strange for the guitar to get its full range of sound. So Luca swapped it with one that was carefully modelled after other conversions of mine.
The other major thing that Luca did was to apply the famous/infamous thin layer of figured maple. We didn’t change the original maple top naturally, we just added a super thin layer of flames! The way that the top luthiers in the world do for many conversions if this type.
The guitar will much likely now go to Billy at Rock N’ Roll Relics to be properly painted – sunburst, of course, just a super thin layer of Nitro paint relic’d to look like the real thing. No original PAF for now, and I probably don’t even intend to, since there are now incredible replicas out there. And in fact, one that – I’ve said it before – fell in love with is David Allen’s own Mustang P51, which replicates a hot 1959 Gibson PAF. I love how David was able to shape the sound of this pickup.
You get to hear it here.
It was played on my 1976 original Marshall Super Lead, 1959 Model, on a Marshall original 1979 Cabinet loaded with original Celestion G12-65s, and miked with two SM57s, one being an original early 1970s Shure SM57 “Unidyne III”. No Equalisation added. At some point, a TSR™ kicks in.